A Review of Squirrels, Rats, Rabbits, Raccoons and other Small Animals and Rodents Deterrents and Repellent Sprays

There exist lots of traditional animal infestation treatment methods, but once you start looking for a ready-to-use natural Animal Deterrent and Repellent Spray, you’ll find that no special products for repelling each individual species, such as squirrels, rats, rabbits, raccoons or other small animals/rodents are available.

As a rule such items are marketed as universal ones and they contain multi-action active ingredients.

How Do Repellents Work?

The scientists from University of Florida explain that “Most of these deterrents operate through one of several mechanisms: odor aversion, taste aversion, or fear inducement”. Pepper, peppermint, tarragon, garlic, various essential oils, castor oil, diatomaceous earth, and putrescent egg solids are considered to be the so-called contact plant origin repellents operate through the first and the second mechanisms. The third type of repellents contains the ingredients of animal origin, such animals' enemies urine (such as coyotes or foxes), dried blood and hair induce pests animals’ panic and make them flee, as confirmed by the University of Massachusetts Amherst specialists.

Yes, repellents look cool, especially for those who are lazy. We all wish for a miracle that once we buy a bottle of the product and spray it all over the place, all of the annoying pests leave for good and never come back. This is what usually the manufacturers of such repellents promise, they claim that the taste or the odor of a repellent will avert the pests and drive them away from any treated objects or plants. Is that really so? It is partly true, but there are several disclaimers to be taken into account.

Theoretically, any of the above mentioned ingredients is effective. However, without a systematic approach the effect doesn’t last long because the animal would get used to the stimulus and understand that it is not lethal. The scientists cite an example of deer which stop being afraid of the repellents containing pepper. Once they taste the treated flowers or leaves and understand that they survive afterwards, they will continue feasting especially if your garden is their only source of food nearby. Lots of others factors have an impact on the effectiveness of any repellent. Among them are the following:

  • the stage of growth of the repellent-treated plants;
  • the period of consumption of such plants by a pest animal;
  • repellent treatment frequency;
  • the quantity of wild animals in the area;
  • individual taste preferences of each animal.

Furthermore, it is well known that deer are scared off by pepper repellents, squirrels and mice are repelled by a product containing pepper, peppermint and garlic. The best natural raccoon repellent is pepper too. It is also common knowledge that rabbits are scared of the repellents containing hair and dried blood. However, everything is not that simple as the Massachusetts University students found that "Individual animals have different taste and smell sensibilities, just as people do”. They use rabbits as an example to illustrate the situation when one rabbit is afraid of the repellents containing dried blood and hair and another one would simply pass through the treated area and will jump further on to feast on your crops.

Havahart, Shake Away, Eco Defense, Ortho, Bonide, Expel and others are the renowned brands manufacturing animal repellents. The ingredients of these products will likely differ, but their effect is pretty similar. The manufacturers constantly improve their products and constantly try to advance their effectiveness. We won’t recommend you any particular repellent as you can choose the suitable one by yourself in the Animal Repellents category on Amazon.com.

The prices for the Animal Repellents start from $12.

If you don’t want to rely on the short-term effect of the repellents, choose the methods of treatments which were approved by the scientists, such as poisons and traps. They are described in the following reviews of ours:

Questions and Answers about Natural Animal Repellents

Should I reapply natural repellents after rain?

No, the practice has showed that such remedies can resist even heavy rain and go on working. But if it seems to you that the rain has washed out everything you have put, than repeat the procedure just to be calm.

May I eat fruits and vegetables treated by such natural spray?

In any rate, wash them thoroughly before eating. In case you are allergic, it would be better to treat them thermally, just to have no doubt.  

How can I prevent squirrels from moving nearer the house entry? They gnaw my wood porch, I am tired to struggle against them!

Try to spray onto the ground and grass so to create invisible barrier in front of the house entry. Approaching this boarder, the squirrels may be frightened by the smell and move no further.

May I use such repellent inside the house?

It is not recommended to use it indoors, because in the absence of sufficient air circulation, the scent will be too obtrusive. But if there is good ventilation in your house, you may try. Only don’t spray onto fabric and other painted surfaces.

Is to spray an only way to use such remedies?

If squirrels invasion has increased dramatically, of course you may pour certain spots with this repellent. But it will cost much more, and there is no guarantee that it will work better. To spray is the best method.